Communication breakdown in a business can lead to frustration, loss of productivity and strained employee relations. Failing to address a problem in communication with employees can cause the situation to deteriorate even further. Some causes of a break in communication are easy to spot, like cultural and personality differences, but others may require a closer look at the overall work situation to identify.

Difference in Perceptions

The way employees and others involved in the business see themselves and each other can lead to communication problems. A group of workers who feel less valued than employees in another department may have problems dealing with those employees. A worker and supervisor or co-workers who have conflicting views of the business can encounter difficulty when trying to work together as a team, disrupting all or part of the daily business functions as a result.


Distractions in the workplace, such as loud traffic, radios and even bad lighting, can hamper communication by harming focus. A lack of attention to surroundings and details can make communication between workers fall apart, as requests and needs are easily forgotten or lost in the shuffle.

Complex Organizational Structure

While some organizations manage to communicate effectively with a large-scale hierarchy in place, numerous layers of management can lead to disastrous results. Messages from lower-ranking employees may not get to the level of management that has the authority to deal with the issues if the communication between the managers is poor.


A stressful or emotional work environment can make interaction between workers strained. Whether an employee is having a difficult time personally or the business itself is the problem, such as an understaffed location, a high level of emotion and pressure may lead to arguments or lack of communication between employees.

Lack of Plan

A business without a clear plan for events or extraordinary circumstances may experience a problem with employee communication when something unexpected occurs, as the employees may not know how to react.